Two-fluid model of rf current condensation in magnetic islands

Physics of Plasmas, Volume 28, Issue 5, May 2021. The stabilization of tearing modes with rf waves is subject to a nonlinear effect, termed rf current condensation, that has the potential to greatly enhance and localize current driven within magnetic islands. Here we extend previous investigations of this effect with a two fluid model that captures the balance of diffusive and thermal equilibration processes within the island. We show that the effective power and resulting strength of the condensation effect can be greatly enhanced by avoiding collisional heat loss to the ions. The relative impact of collisions on the overall power balance within the island depends on the ratio of the characteristic diffusion timescale and the electron–ion equilibration time, rather than the latter alone. Although relative heat loss to ions increases with island size, the heating efficiency does as well. In particular, we show that the latter safely dominates for large deposition profiles, as is typically the case for lower hybrid current drive. This supports the possibility of passive stabilization of neoclassical tearing modes without the precise aiming of the rf waves required for electron cyclotron current drive stabilization.